Posts from the �s’ category

Birth Certificate of Gavin Friday (Fionan Martin Hanvey), 1959

Fionan Martin Hanvey Birth Certificate

Gavin Friday is one of the more interesting artistic forces at work here today

Bono’s ‘Man Friday’ is no mere sycophant. A key influence on U2, his own music reveals a singular talent, and his oral account of growing up here, I Didn’t Come up the Liffey in a Bubble, was the most winning of Dublin memoirs. (This birth certificate was actually printed in 1992.)

With thanks to Gavin Friday

Watch an interview with Gavin Friday:

Switzer’s Box, 1950s

Switzers box

Switzer’s was a well known department store on Grafton Street

Grafton Street was anchored by Switzer’s and Brown Thomas department stores. Switzer’s was the less elite of the two – many customers never crossed the street to shop in Brown Thomas. The basement café was an old-fashioned parlour with waitresses in black dresses and white aprons. Switzer’s was bought by Brown Thomas in 1995; BTs moved into the Switzer’s building across the street. You can still see the Switzer’s logo on the Wicklow Street side of Brown Thomas.

Permanent Collection

Watch footage of Ireland in the 1950’s:

P & T Post Box, 1950s

P&T box


The P&T logo is instantly recognisable

The civil service ran the post and telephone system in Ireland until 1984, when it was replaced by An Post and Telecom Éireann. The Department’s logo – P & T in Gaelic script – can still be seen on manholes covers around the city, at access points to the phone lines.

With thanks to An Post

Watch a video about the Post Box:



Monument Creameries Invoice, 1953

Monument Creameries invoice

Monument Crameries was owned by the Ryan family

The Monument Creameries was a chain of shops that was founded on Parnell Street in 1920 by Séamus and Agnes Ryan (née Harding). The Hardings were Republican activists during the War of Independence, and Séamus was later elected to the Seanad. The Parnell Street branch was the first of 36, and the family lived in the wealthy Dublin suburb of Foxrock. Kathleen Ryan, an actress, and John Ryan, an artist, writer and benefactor of many other artists, were among the Ryans’ eight children.

Permanent Collection

Watch a documentary about the War of Independence the Ryans were activists for:

Merville Dairy Finglas Milk Bottle, 1950s

Merville dairy milk bottle

This milk bottle was owned by Merville Dairy

The Merville Dairy collected milk in bulk from farmers, processed it and delivered it. Originally milk was delivered ‘loose’, poured into customers’ containers from vats on the truck, but this was phased out in favour of bottles by the 1930s. Eventually Merville was amalgamated into Premier Dairies, and the horse-drawn floats were phased out.

Permanent Collection

Visit the ‘Critical Past’ website to view agricultural scenes in 1950’s Ireland:

Dublin Harbour Plan, 1951

Map of Dublin Harbour

Dublin was a port before it was a city

This map shows the quays, sheds and tramways under the jurisdiction of the Dublin Port and Docks Board in 1951. At the time, ships unloaded much further up the Liffey – the port moved downstream with the advent of larger container ships.

Permanent Collection

Watch an RTE video of a Docklands Photo Exhibition:

Letter from Hayes and Sons Solicitors, 1952

Hayes solicitors

Hayes and Sons occupied the building which now houses the Little Museum

Note the address. This politely worded invoice is from Hayes and Sons, former occupants of 15 St Stephen’s Green. It was a prominent law firm, with five partners in 1952 when the letter was written. Louis Wilfred Webb, one of the partners who worked in this room, owned Ballawley estate, part of the land on which the Dundrum Shopping Centre is now built.

Permanent Collection

Re-Opening of the Gaiety Theatre, 1955

Gaiety theatre invitation

An invitation to the Lord Mayor of Dublin to attend the performance that re-opened the Gaiety on the 25th of November, 1955

The Gaiety had been forced to close ten months previously when Dublin Corporation condemned the upper circle balcony as unsafe. The auditorium had to be redesigned with safer exits before the Gaiety could re-open. Denis Larkin, son of the famous labour activist Jim Larkin, was Lord Mayor at the time.

With thanks to The Gaiety Theatre

Watch footage of the Gaiety Theatre in 1969:

Dublin Horse Show Poster, 1957

Dublin Horse Show

Ireland has a long held association with all things equine

Since it was first held in 1864 the Horse Show has become a Dublin institution. A celebration of Ireland’s affinity with the horse, from the best show horses to the best international show jumpers. It is one of Ireland’s largest events, a highlight of the summer, each year welcoming tens of thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.

Here’s a poster from the 1957 edition.

Permanent Collection

Visit the RTE Archives and watch a video clip of the Dublin Horse Show:

Dublin Airport Terminal, 1950s

Dublin airport

The architecture of the Dublin airport terminal was highly unusual at the time

The airport was a British Royal Flying Corps base during World War I. It was taken over by the Air Corps when Ireland gained independence. Work commenced on the terminal in 1938 after the Government was persuaded to support “such an elaborate plan” despite the fact that annual passenger numbers were only in the hundreds. The tiered design and curvilinear forms echo the lines of the great ocean-going liners.

On loan from Aer Lingus

Visit British Pathe to watch a video of Dublin Airport being constructed: